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Protecting ‘brand Key’

Written By: - Date published: 6:54 pm, June 26th, 2008 - 51 comments
Categories: john key, national - Tags:

For the first second third time, National is trying to shut down the reporting of things they feel don’t cast them in the glowing light they’d prefer.

TV3 indicates that National is to make a formal complaint over the reporting of John Key’s ignorant and insulting comments in relation to the ‘peaceful’ settlement of New Zealand.

When your image is all you’ve got I guess this shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Protect the brand. Shoot the messenger.

51 comments on “Protecting ‘brand Key’ ”

  1. Monty 1

    Thank you lefties for hanging on and listening to every word that John Key says. I wonder though if you fixation is damaging your health?

    Lucky for the right that most people have now just given up listening to the left. You lot are getting more and more pathetic as each day passes. Please rest assured that we simply cannot be bothered listening to Clark and Cullen anymore.

  2. andy 2

    This line of attack will eventually back fire on Key. He will start sounding like Peters and his constant attacks on the media for misrepresenting him.

    The media will tire of it too!

    Bad strategy. Especially in election year when the media will want to focus on gotchas and gaffes. He is serving them up on his own and creating a story. A better strategy would be to clarify and move on.

  3. I suppose whipping up a storm over a non-event beats discussing the record drop in consumer confidence and the confirmation of a shrinking economy tomorrow.

    [we’ll be covering the GDP numbers tomorrow when they come out. I look forward to a detailed discussion of how National will make things better. SP]

  4. andy 4

    Monty

    Key is complaining about the media, The Standard is only bringing it to our attention.

    I find the Nats strategy fascinating. Do you think they are using the ‘all publicity is good publicity’ method? I have said labour has a tin ear at present, and this stuff gives them a line of attack and takes the pressure off them.

    Lucky for the right that most people have now just given up listening to the left

    You are first to comment!

  5. FF – it’ll be a cold day in hell before National talks seriously about the economy. The media is hungry and if you don’t feed them policy then who knows what they’ll decide is tasty.

  6. andy 6

    Robinsod

    So do you think it was a deliberate strategy, playing to the bases fear of “treaty industry/upity brown people” and “left wing media bias”?

    Note: scare quotes not personal beleifs.

    Sod like your blog, very funny. Good photoshop job..

  7. Thanks I quite like the blog but I’m too busy/lazy to post much. As for Key? I actually think it was just a cock up and I don’t think it was particularly bad one. But the media has been tuned to focus on this sort of stuff in the last few years and, ironically enough, it’s been the National Party that has helped foster this culture of beat up as it avoids the big policy questions they really don’t like. Now it’s starting to bite them on the arse – but that’s the price they have to pay for their small-target strategy…

    As they have stated they won’t release policy until a month before polling day, I’d say they are in for a rough couple of months – especially if they continue to attack the media.

  8. gobsmacked 8

    FFM: “whipping up a storm over a non-event”

    I assume you’re referring to Phil Goff’s statement of the obvious a few weeks ago, leading both 6 pm news bulletins and going … nowhere.

    The Maori Party clearly don’t think his comments are a non-event. Two years of cute photo ops (volleyball and car rides for kids), all undone in an interview (for any young folk reading, that’s what we old-timers call the idea of asking politicians questions, and broadcasting their answers, instead of swooning at their smiles).

    Damn those words – back to the pictures, John!

  9. Walter Ego 9

    If the young woman presently working at McDonalds, new Lynn is reading this, can i have a crispy chicken wrap?
    And a Latte.
    To go.

  10. Skeptic 10

    Funny that. I look forward to the Standard stating that Helen Clark was bullying John Campbell, or trying to “protect her brand” when she referred to him as a “little creep”. Or when she filed a BSA complaint against Campbell for the Corngate interview. Or when Michael Cullen suggested that journalists were only interested in tax cuts because of their own self-interest.

    Oh I forgot. This is the Labour Good, National Bad blog.

    [we weren’t around during the 2002 election campaign, I’m not sure how you except us to have covered it. Or would you like us to go back through every mini-scandal in NZ political history? SP]

  11. gobsmacked 11

    Skeptic, what is your objection to the Key interview? What grounds could there be for a complaint?

  12. Skeptic 12

    And how can we forget when Helen Clark was protecting “brand Clark” when she said that the New Zealand herald has been an enemy of Labour for the last 91 years? http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10494809

  13. Lew 13

    Skeptic: It’s not `Brand Clark’ that has sold Labour to voters these past three elections – it’s the product.

    However, it does look like Brand Clark, as branded by National, is what’s losing the government this election.

    L

  14. I can see Moari wanting the leader of the National Party, riding at 50% in the polls, to so show more depth of understanding with respect to the circumstances of Maori in the early days of the process that ultimately saw huge numbers of the dead from disease and intertribal war fueled by guns, and many of those who survived were displaced and dispossessed.

    Key has had such a cruisy ride to date, I can understand him being thrown completely off by anything but puff pieces.

  15. gobsmacked 15

    Perhaps I should help Skeptic out.

    Anybody can make a complaint. That does not mean the complaint is valid.

    Complaints about the Campbell-Clark interview were partially (but not totally) upheld:

    http://www.bsa.govt.nz/decisions/2003/2003-055__061.html

    Therefore the action taken by Clark and others was justified. So, what are Key’s grounds for complaint? Any ideas? Has the broadcaster done anything wrong at all? If so, what?

    “My own words made me look dumb, I shouldn’t have said them, I stuffed up again” is not a valid ground for a complaint against the broadcaster. Only Key is responsible for that.

    That is the clear difference between the two cases. They are chalk and luxury dairy treat.

  16. Skeptic 16

    Gobsmacked, I don’t have an objection to the Key interview. What I do object to is cretins at the standard wilfully taking a part of it out of context, even after they are presented with the full transcript of what was said, suggesting that John Key was saying that there was never any conflict between the crown and maori. That’s not what he said. Read the full statement. It’s obvious he was referring to the signing of the treaty of waitangi.

    I don’t expect the standard to be honest though. This is all they’ve got. A half statement taken out of context when the unedited comments completely refute the inference that the standard is taking. What’s the bet the standard tries to beat this up for the next two weeks. Pity nobody’s listening.

    Gobsmacked, read again the whole quote:

    “‘We may be many voices but ultimately we are one people. One of the unique things about New Zealand is that we are not a country that’s come about through civil war or a lot of fighting internally. We’re a country that peacefully came together – Maori and the Crown decided from both partners’ side that it was in their interests to have a peaceful negotiation. That’s what the Treaty was, a founding document – a development document – for New Zealand, and I think that we could work things out in a peaceful, sensible and mature way has actually been a defining part of New Zealand’s history. It’s very important, and it’s important we honour that now’.”

    John Key was talking about the peaceful way that led up to the signing of the treaty of waitangi. He wasn’t talking about the period after the signing of the treaty, including the land wars.

    Still I suppose that the standard thinks they have a better chance repeating their own lies than actually reporting reality, like how Labour is trailing National by 20+ points in all of the latest polls. Just as the Standard lied about John Key saying he wanted to see wages in New Zealand drop and continue to lie about it now.

    It’s not very sophisticated writing though. By editing out of context, Helen Clark actually said: “Robert Mugabe […] is somebody I admire greatly […] and I wish I were more like him. […] He is my hero.”

    Except nobody else in the blogosphere is quite so dishonest as to actually do that. Yet again the standard jumps the shark.

  17. gobsmacked 17

    Skeptic, it’s a blog. It’s partisan.

    But as you now acknowledge, Key’s case and Clark’s are very different. One was a complaint with grounds, and upheld. The other is not.

    If Key does make a complaint about the broadcaster to the BSA, and it is upheld, then the two cases can be reasonably compared.

    Chances of that happening? Nil.

  18. But Cullen said as much before.
    The problem is you Standard boys are so desperate to whip up anything into a storm, particularly anything concerning John Key.
    You see Dear Leader lagging behind in the polls as preferred PM and Liarbour 20-26% behind as well.
    It is looking glum so you must come up with something.
    The media must too.
    A National landslide means for a pretty poor campaign, so with John Boy they have to build him up, knock him down, build him up, etc, etc, to keep the punters interested.
    However, cases like this only highlight the hypocracy of Liarbour.
    You need to do your research better and get it on par to what National did this afternoon, hence Gerry Brownless was able to whip up an appropriate response.
    I wonder if the Maori Party, on calmer reflection, will realise Cullen said as much.
    This is why the spin of the story matters.
    Its not a matter of Key making a gaffe but also one of Liarbour being found guilty too and being exposed as hypocrites when Cullen said the same.

    PS I enjoyed your blog too Robinson.
    That must confirm me as the pinko wet liberal of the day, especially when I was quite supportive of the Treelord deal over at No Minister.

  19. andy 19

    Sceptic FWW I agree with sod.

    I actually think it was just a cock up and I don’t think it was particularly bad one.

    Do you think its a wise move complaining about the people that have the ability to make or break a politician. He needs them more than they need him. Brash found out the hard way, walking the plank etc..

  20. Skeptic 20

    Andy we don’t know what kind of complaint if any was made or at what level. If John Key’s press secretary calls up the radio station and says: “Hey, guys. I realise you have to edit for time, but the effect of how you edited my quote is that some of the mischief-makers are interpreting the shortened quote in a way that isn’t consistent with the longer one.” Well that isn’t bullying, is it?

    I don’t think it was a cock-up from John Key. I think it was unfortunate editing. It happens all the time and the real mud is in Michael Cullen’s face because his criticism is not sustained when the whole quote is revealed. Nor is the standard’s.

    To answer your question, no I don’t think any good is served by a politician making a complaint about media reporting. Helen Clark was semi successful over the corngate complaint, but she also said last year that the press council for one was completely toothless and politicians just have to be thick-skinned. Getting misquoted goes with the territory of being quoted.

    Doesn’t stop her from attacking bits of the media when she thinks they’ve got the story wrong, which she’s entitled to do. I also think John Key is entitled to get out his story when he thinks he’s been misreported. Mostly the media are pretty fair about it. The wages dropping thing was total bollocks and the media don’t touch it because they know the quote was out of context and referred to Australia if John Key said it at all. Sadly it doesn’t look like the standard is suffering too much from key derangement syndrome to be honest about that.

  21. Lew 21

    FFM: 1. Cullen didn’t say the same; this false equivocation is a matter of wishful thinking. 2. That others (such as Satyanand, and more will surely come to light) said such stupid things doesn’t excuse it.

    Also: your use of Liarbour is tiresome, but I guess you know that and are doing it to be annoying.

    L

    [lprent: I find it annoying as well. I wonder how I can make it annoying to the person using it…]

  22. Pascal's bookie 22

    Skeptic
    John Key was talking about the peaceful way that led up to the signing of the treaty of waitangi. He wasn’t talking about the period after the signing of the treaty, including the land wars.

    Then he shouldn’t have used the present tense.

    ‘We may be many voices but ultimately we are one people. One of the unique things about New Zealand is that we are not a country that’s come about through civil war or a lot of fighting internally. We’re a country that peacefully came together – Maori and the Crown decided from both partners’ side that it was in their interests to have a peaceful negotiation. That’s what the Treaty was, a founding document – a development document – for New Zealand, and I think that we could work things out in a peaceful, sensible and mature way has actually been a defining part of New Zealand’s history. It’s very important, and it’s important we honour that now’.’

    Read the bold bits carefully and think about tense. Because they are the bits doing all the work.

    When you say that we are not a country that’s come about you are talking about the present country, today, and talking about it’s entire history. ‘How has today come to be as it is?’ is the question you are addressing. Not ‘How did it begin?’.

    He then talks about the peaceful treaty signing, which is semi ok, but then confirms the original fairy story version by saying the next bolded part. We didn’t in fact work things out in a sensible peaceful way, we may have started out with the treaty, but the Crown broke it. That fact is a defining part of our national history. We are in fact, today, a country that has been shaped by quite a bit of fighting that John completely misses in this quote.

    I agree with ‘sod and others that this isn’t earth shatteringly bad, but it is sloppy in a ‘not thinking/caring about what I’m saying’ way. And the ‘go after the reporters’ routine is getting dumb.

  23. Lew 23

    Skeptic: By editing out of context, Helen Clark actually said: “Robert Mugabe […] is somebody I admire greatly […] and I wish I were more like him. […] He is my hero.’

    If we’re having a competition to see who can come up with the funniest/stupidest/most outrageous out-of-context quote, how’s this one, from Morning Report on 31 January 2008: http://feayn.org/~lewis/right_you_are_mr_key.mp3

    In the spirit of healthy disrespect for our leaders, I invite others. Rules: you need to be able to state where and when it aired, or be able to provide some sort of corroboration to its veracity, and it mustn’t be a mashup or a Southpark Chef stitch-up job like Skeptic has there.

    L

  24. Lew 24

    PB: This is the best analysis I’ve yet seen. Thanks.

    L

  25. QoT 25

    I’m with Lew; that’s totally how I’ve been reading Key’s comments, PB.

  26. ak 26

    So for at least the third time National is exposed applying direct pressure to the Press.

    Coming on top of the recent revelation of John Key getting on the piss with our top TV political reporters, one is again reminded of Brownlee’s email quoted in The Hollow Men re Orewa One:

    Orewa was a huge success…because the work was done…to prime the media up into a state that forced them to write positively about the topic.

    “Work” eh…. the details of which were too delicate to mention even in a supposedly confidential email. What possible “work” can one imagine that could so markedly influence our purportedly independent fourth estate? (Remember that the disgusting Orewa message had been tried several times before Brash’s delivery – and fallen flat)

    Perhaps this “work” might also explain the current bizarre poll position – which even our morono-rabid bog visitors can only attribute to the same wafer-thin inanities and anti-Clark demonisation that they have repeated ad nauseam for years.

    To recap: the Nat-Labour polling gap was around 5% just back in November. Since then the only “major” political move has been the EFA – which surveys have confirmed resonates little with the public (and is understood even less).

    What has been evident since late last year is an incessantly pro-National anti-Labour barrage of “opinion” from our major political writers, broadcasters, cartoonists and various other “celebrities”. And the unprecedented Herald hysteria replete with the notorious Lenin comparison and red front-page attack.

    As always, the “middle” swinging voters will determine who is in charge of our destiny.

    As always, the “middle” swinging voters will be primarily influenced by a handful of opinion leaders in the mainstream media.

    An extremely valuable handful to any party with the resources and sheer Machiavallian determination to put in the “work”…..

  27. Razorlight 27

    You guys have way to much times on your hand. I want a job like SP’s. He must have a great boss or job if he can spend all day on here.

    My two cents worth…Key was sloppy and should be pulled up for his sloppiness. It is therefore his failure to speak in the past tense or his use of the English language that should people should be worried about.

    And therefore…some people need to learn how to enjoy life a little more if they get this upset over Mr Key’s failure to speak in the past tense

    [I write most of my posts in the evening or the morning and the occasional one during the day during my lunch to cover emerging events. I have a scan of posts every hour or so and comment if need be – fast typist. I’m fortunate enough to be able to work flexible hours, so that helps too. Also, I only do 2-3 posts a day on average, the others do the other 2-3. SP]

  28. And I hope people realise there’s a difference between politicians openly disagreeing with the coverage they recieve, debating the issue in the public eye on the one hand and. on the other, using shadowy methods and stnad over tactics to intimidate the media into giving you the coverage you want.

  29. Lew 29

    Razorlight: Political discourse is complex stuff. A person’s choice of grammar and syntax can reveal a great deal about their positions and opinions. They’re fair game, and often provide a great deal more insight than merely studying the words.

    If a politician expects the electorate or the media to take him or her seriously, they had better be prepared to be taken seriously whatever they say or do, or at least be able to mark out clearly what is and isn’t to be taken seriously.

    L

  30. Skeptic 30

    PB with due respect that is semantic nonsense. You are deliberately choosing to interpret the entire quote according to your political prejudices.

    Clearly John Key is referring to the peaceful and mature way that the two parties negotiated the treaty of waitangi, and he is comparing it to the conquests, civil wars, and revolutions that brought about the founding documents of other countries. He is not saying that this was the only defining moment in New Zealand’s history, or that there aren’t any other defining moments. He is saying that it is one of the defining moments. He is celebrating the way in which the Treaty was negotiated. He is affirming that we should honour it.

    Now for you to say that there were other defining moments in New Zealand’s history, such as the land wars and conflict between Maori and the Crown, is true. But it’s not relevant to whether what John Key is saying is correct or not. That’s like you saying: “There is a blue car on the road.” And then if I reply: “Ha, no you’re wrong. There’s a red car on the road as well. You’re totally warped, because you only mentioned the blue car!”

  31. Razorlight 31

    Thanks SP

    I was only joking mate

  32. Razorlight 32

    Lew

    I agree

    But I do not think many on this side of the fence will give Key the chance to clarify what he was saying. The way he said it was wrong. Can he not clarify it?

  33. ak 33

    Skeptic: Clearly John Key is referring to the peaceful and mature way that the two parties negotiated the treaty of waitangi

    Then clearly both he and you are in direct disagreement with the opinion of Pita Sharples which he clearly expressed on the 6 o’clock news tonight.

    Whom to believe? Mmmmmm…..toughie

  34. Murray 34

    Why don’t you anti John Key fuckwits get a life.

    [wow! I’ve seen the light! Tomorrow, I’m quitting writing on the Standard. Then, I’m buying a cheap suit and a waistcost, and getting me an online MBA. Gonna be a Toryboy, make some money on the stocks. Seriously, though, don’t come on our blog and call us fuckwits, we welcome criticism and debate but not mindless insults. How about you set up your own awesome blog and call us fuckwits to your heart’s content there? SP]

    [lprent: Nah not a online MBA. It isn’t any fun without having the sessions learning from the other ‘students’. You can learn at least as much from them than you do from the lecturers. Bit like this blog really. Besides I did my MBA so I could drop the suits 🙂 ]

  35. Lew 35

    Razorlight: Of course he can; I think that doing so swiftly and calmly would have been far and away the best response.

    L

  36. KK 36

    thanks Muz, really inspirational stuff… you must of spent hours thinking about a response like that.

    Skeptic – I agree with you to an extent, Sure, other countries history’s of conquests, civil wars, and revolutions do not compare to NZ’s

    but this is basic NZ history, form four social studies style.. our future PM? I bloody hope not, how could you even defend it. It’s not about prejudices, it’s about historical accuracy, non-denial, reconciliation, improving NZ’s race relations.

    I have no confidence in Key managing any of the above

    Key and Rudd.. match made in heaven

  37. Razorlight 37

    Lew

    I am glad you feel Key can clarify his position.

    I will play hypotheticals now though. Key clarifies his statement by clearly stating he was talking about the peaceful treaty negotiations and signing and not the land wars that followed.

    The Standard will not allow the matter to end there. Until the day Key retires we will have links back to the selctive Key quote in numerous Standard blogs as an attempt to show he is stupid or a racist or some other absurd accusation.

    Come Monday this issue will be a dead duck for 99% of the electorate, if it isn’t already. But I confidently predict the Standard will write about this until after the election even if Key clarifies his position.

  38. lprent 38

    Razorlight:

    He must have a great boss or job if he can spend all day on here.

    When I was writing a post wednesday for the weekend, Steve had 3 posts scheduled for yesterday. I see he has a post scheduled for later this morning. It isn’t uncommon to see a lot of posts being written in drafts, or scheduled for release sitting in the backend. Just at present there are about 60 drafts (some abandoned) in the Manage area.

    I don’t know about Steve, but after I scan work e-mails I tend to pop in and scan comments and posts when I’m drinking coffee, running compiles or rebooting hardware during the day. It means that typically I’ll be ‘on’ up to 4-5 times during the day from work. Frequently that means I’ll leave a half-written comment sitting on the browser while I curse and find a syntax bug or dig into logs to find a logic bug. They get finished when I hit dead time again.

    Sometimes there will be whole days that I’m not doing anything on the blog because I’m writing code which doesn’t have quite as much dead time or in design. But there are a number of posters/moderators, so the system tends to get covered.

    The joys of a co-op and the enabling of multi-tasking with the net.

    I notice the same thing happening with a number of the comments here. They tend to be bursted from a single person across several threads over 10 minutes. Often directed at people they are having ongoing conversation. Thats why the right column is designed to allow people to see who has been writing where. How do you think that the r0b/burt, ‘sod/Billy, etc conversations happen.

    Fortunately the volume of comments is sufficently small at present to still do that. But if it increases much more then I’ll have to look for a more selective display system than just listing the last 100 comments and pingbacks. There is a slightly better display on the dashboard for people who are logged in – and I really need to find time to work on that more.

  39. andy 39

    Razorlight

    Key get his clarification on page 3 (below the fold) in today’s Herald.

    Mr Key, who has complained to Newstalk ZB over its use of the interview, released a transcript which shows he mentioned the Land Wars and land confiscations elsewhere in the interview.

    Strangely the article starts in a negative tone about Labour:

    Labour’s attempt to paint National leader John Key as unworthy of being Prime Minister because of his comments about colonial history have backfired

    I think ‘backfired’ is a bit strong, maybe ‘Labour attacks amount to nothing.’, ‘Key in danger of losing Maori support according to Sharples.’

  40. lprent 40

    Razorlight:

    The Standard will not allow the matter to end there. Until the day Key retires we will have links back to the selctive Key quote in numerous Standard blogs as an attempt to show he is stupid or a racist or some other absurd accusation.

    Ummm you mean just like the comments about Helen that have been circulating for a few decades by the mindless minon’s of the right?

    Why shouldn’t the left have the same kind of fun regurgitating the same lines endlessly. It seems to have worked for the right in spreading perceptions into the wider public – why should they consider themselves to be immune to the same tactic?

    Of course the nett effect is to substantially undermine public belief in the political process, and steadily move all politicians into a Mugabe satisfaction range. But hey, why should the left think any further ahead than the right does?

    Personally I intend to promote a higher standard of political trashing than the comments in kiwiblog. But the effect will be the same. The real question is if we should start unsubstantiated decade long whisper campaigns about private lives of leading politicians.

    IMHO: If a tactic is used by one side, it can always be used against them. Indeed it should be just to make sure that it goes into the MAD pile.

  41. An arrogant dimwitted prick who’s never worked a day in his life without a grasp of basic history. What’s new?

    Someone enroll John Key in a level 1 history class!

  42. Interesting how an organisation like Federated Farmers, redolent in the mindset of “producers”, wants to make a towny money speculator their PM.

    Life is stranger than fiction.

  43. Vanilla Eis 43

    lynn:

    “Of course the nett effect is to substantially undermine public belief in the political process, and steadily move all politicians into a Mugabe satisfaction range. But hey, why should the left think any further ahead than the right does?”

    Indeed. If anyone watched Nandors valedictorian speech, he brought up the behaviour of politicians inside the first 3 minutes as something to be ashamed of. These people are our representatives and their number one preoccupation in the house is slinging mud at each other. Anyone watching the general debate will have almost no respect for politicians as it is.

    Anyway, it was a brilliant speech, and he got a standing ovation from both sides of the house and gallery. Track down a video if you can. Russell Norman came in and sat next to me in the gallery – I wished him good luck for his appearance next week, he’ll need it.

  44. all_your_base 44

    Razorlight, you’re entitled to your opinion but I can’t help but cringe every time John Key is forced to issue a “clarification”. How would this kind of thing look on the world stage? Part of the problem for Key is that he says so little, when he does the attention is heightened.

  45. lprent 45

    VE: Will do that tonight

  46. Tane 46

    There’s a video on the Green Party website but I’m having trouble ripping it. And at 14 mins looks like it’s too big for youtube.

    [lprent: Whatever you do with it – send it to me. I’ve been meaning to test video streaming from this server. Good test over the weekend.]

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